London, 18 November 2021 – Unilever today announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its global Tea business, ekaterra, to CVC Capital Partners Fund VIII for €4.5 billion (USD $5.09 billion) on a cash-free, debt-free basis.
ekaterra is the world’s leading Tea business, with a portfolio of 34 brands including Lipton, PG tips, Pukka, T2 and TAZO. The business generated revenues of around €2 billion in 2020. It has 11 production factories in 4 continents and Tea estates in 3 countries
“The evolution of our portfolio into higher growth spaces is an important part of our growth strategy for Unilever," said Alan Jope, Unilever CEO. "Our decision to sell ekaterra demonstrates further progress in delivering against our plans. We are proud of the place that our Tea business has in our company’s history. We look forward to seeing ekaterra, with its strong brands and global footprint, prosper under CVC’s ownership. I would like to thank our Tea colleagues around the world for their passion and commitment to our Tea business and wish them well for the future.”
Completion of the transaction is subject to completion of works council consultation processes and the receipt of certain regulatory approvals. Completion is expected in the second half of 2022. The transaction perimeter excludes Unilever’s Tea business in India, Nepal and Indonesia as well as Unilever’s interests in the Pepsi Lipton ready-to-drink Tea joint ventures and associated distribution businesses.
“ekaterra is a great business, built on strong foundations of leading brands and a purpose-driven approach to its products, people and communities," said Pev Hooper, managing partner at CVC Capital Partners. "ekaterra is well positioned in an attractive market to accelerate its future growth, and to lead the category’s sustainable development. We look forward to working with the team to realise ekaterra’s full potential.”
“ekaterra is a strong business with positive momentum and has an exciting future ahead under the new ownership of CVC," said John Davison, ekaterra CEO. "We look forward to the next stage of our journey as the world’s leading Tea business.”
CVC is a leading private equity and investment advisory firm with a network of 25 offices throughout Europe, Asia and the US, with approximately US$125 billion of assets under management. Since its founding in 1981, CVC has secured commitments in excess of US$165 billion from some of the world's leading institutional investors across its private equity and credit strategies. Funds managed or advised by CVC are invested in more than 100 companies worldwide, which have combined annual sales of over US$100 billion and employ more than 450,000 people.